Lavanya episode shows how deep the missionary rot is in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh

A study released by the Centre for Policy Studies, a Chennai think tank, in 2016 revealed that Tamil Nadu was the most favourable state in India for the growth of Christianity

Yuvraj Pokharna January 28, 2022 17:20:25 IST
Lavanya episode shows how deep the missionary rot is in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh

How unhealthy pressure can lead to suicide

Christian missionary activities such as proselytisation through convent schools have been going on for a long time, along with a mission to “civilise” the natives. Convent schools and colleges, in the name of providing good education, lure lower and middle classes of our country. These institutions act as an easy and subtle conversion ground for Christian missionaries. Missionary schools offer several financial inducements, including free schooling, books, transportation and more, if one converts. Love in Jesus is not enough for them, but proselytisation is! The bellyache is with the missionary techniques, which have turned religion into an intense number game rather than a process of moral growth.

One such spine-chilling incident has come to light in Tamil Nadu, where a 17-year-old Lavanya was allegedly pressurised and harassed to death, to convert into Christianity. Shocking and debilitating, but there are more layers to this story, each one more terrifying than the earlier, albeit the mainstream media leaves no stone unturned to whitewash such stories. In a widely circulated 44-second video of the minor, she is seen narrating the disturbing insights of her harassment. Her recounting of the journey can make one lose faith in humanity.

Lavanya, a Class XII student at Sacred Hearts Higher Secondary School in Michaelpatti in Thanjavur, was staying in a boarding house called St Michael’s Girls’ Home. Lavanya could be seen accusing Raquel Mary, a nun, of persuading the victim’s family to convert into Christianity.

She also recounted being scolded multiple times, not being granted leave for Pongal holidays, authorities forcing her to do accounts for the hostel. The horrors didn’t stop here, the warden, Sakayamri forced Lavanya to clean the entire premises alone, including toilets. The constant harassment and torture forced the minor to attempt suicide by consuming pesticides used in the school garden, to which she later succumbed. Shockingly, the minor’s parents were informed a day after she was admitted to the hospital on 9 January when the girl was at death bed.

Mainstream media and armchair activists that specialise in whitewashing the realities to reinforce false narratives are conveniently eschewing the conversion angle in the Lavanya case. One would see these ‘eminences’ hanker down on supposed Hindu umbrages, but sidestep issues of forced conversions and love jihad, calling them a conspiracy theory. The Left-leaning intelligentsia exposes itself and its stunted mindset through its appeasement politics and selective outrage, which of late borders on hypocritical misinformation.

But make no mistake, Lavanya is a hero. She, despite all the hardships she faced, refused to give up her Hindu identity and convert to the Abrahamic religion. The incident, however, shows the gravity of the situation. As a matter of fact, a study released by the Centre for Policy Studies, a Chennai think tank, in 2016 revealed that Tamil Nadu was the most favourable state in India for the growth of Christianity.

Kanyakumari district has seen a rapid increase in the number of Christians, where the share of Christians in the population rose from 30.7 percent in 1921 to 34.7 percent in 1951 and has risen to 46.8 percent since then. The population of Hindus which constituted 90.47 percent of the state’s population in 1951 has come down to 87.58 percent by 2011.

The increase in the Christian population is credited to the rampant aggressive conversion activities of missionaries like Pentecostals Christian groups.

.

These groups use foreign money for their proselytising activities, and distribute Christian literature in public transport, Hindu gathering and painted 'Jesus comes' on the walls of Hindu houses. Such aggression is undoubtedly achieved by political protection by the state authorities against Hindu revivalist organisations.

The Madras High Court on 7 January 2022 observed how the population of Hindus has come down in Tamil Nadu. The HC bench of Justice GR Swaminathan made this observation in the order passed on a plea by a Catholic priest P George Ponnaiah, seeking quashing of hate speech case filed against him for mocking Hindu religious beliefs at a village in Kanyakumari, reported Bar and Bench.

“The demographic profile of Kanyakumari in terms of religion has seen an inversion. Hindus have become a minority in the district since 1980. Though the 2011 Census gives an impression that Hindus are the largest religious group with their number pegged at 48.5 percent, that may not represent the ground reality,” the court said.

The court in its order further added, “One can take judicial notice of the fact that a large number of Scheduled Caste Hindus, though having converted to Christianity and professing the said religion, call themselves Hindus on record for the purpose of availing reservation.” Such persons are called as crypto-Christians, the court added.

Another state that has been in the headlines for providing a safe ground for Christian missionaries is Andhra Pradesh. In 2021, the Centre in a written reply told Lok Sabha that the Ministry of Home Affairs received complaints against 18 NGOs in Andhra Pradesh “regarding their alleged indulgence in conversion into Christianity”.

An alarming increase in the state-sanctioned Christianisation of Andhra Pradesh was seen with the advent of the Congress government in 2004 and has ever since only increased. The current YS Jaganmohan Reddy government sanctioned monetary help to 30,000 pastors in the state. The state has also declared increased financial assistance to Christian pilgrims visiting Jerusalem and ten other significant places. Moreover, converts are made to hide their new faith and avail their reservation benefits in countless government positions. This daylight robbery needs to end.

It’s time we must scrutinise the following pointers:

1. Why convent schools and colleges disapprove students of wearing a pratisara/mehendi or tilak, calling them Hindu symbols, but encourage students to read Bible verses.

2. Why self-proclaimed non-conformists who vocally refer to injustices on Indian minorities, always leave unaddressed those very issues when inflicted upon the silent majority.

3. Why Hindutva parties that supposedly work for Hindus have a minimal reaction to this serious problem and have failed in providing any substantial support to the victim’s family.

4. Why Hindus do not come up with a politico-intellectual response to preserve their existence in the wake of growing missionary challenge.

One should take inspiration from MK Gandhi’s words on this subject. “If I had power and could legislate, I should certainly stop all proselytising. For Hindu households, the advent of a missionary has meant the disruption of the family, coming in the wake of change of dress, manners, language, food and drink,” he said.

The government has already dangled enough carrots; this country now demands the stick. We cannot afford to lose more Lavanyas. It's time we have a strong law against forced and fraudulent proselytisation.

The writer is an educationist and social activist from Surat. Views expressed are personal.

A collection of Suicide prevention helpline numbers are available here. Please reach out if you or anyone you know is in need of support. The All-India helpline number is: 022-27546669

Read all the Latest News, Trending NewsCricket News, Bollywood News,
India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Updated Date:

also read

‘Gastronomical’ politics: Tamil Nadu’s DMK rakes up controversy using food as a weapon of attack
Politics

‘Gastronomical’ politics: Tamil Nadu’s DMK rakes up controversy using food as a weapon of attack

The latest issue is over state higher education minister K Ponmudy’s statement that people who speak Hindi are those who sell 'pani puri'

Tamil Nadu minister stirs row, says pani puri sellers speak hindi
Politics

Tamil Nadu minister stirs row, says pani puri sellers speak hindi

Tamil Nadu higher education minister K Ponmudy later clarified that his comments on pani puri sellers did not amount to ‘profiling’

Tamil Nadu BJP leader hacked to death by unidentified assailants in Chennai's Chintadripet
India

Tamil Nadu BJP leader hacked to death by unidentified assailants in Chennai's Chintadripet

Balachandran was provided with a personal security officer (PSO) by the Tamil Nadu government as he had suspicions that he was under threat. The BJP leader was killed while the PSO went for a tea break